Fri, Nov
26
2004

To a Viktor go the Spoils...

ukraine_election_viktors.jpg

A tip of the hat to the Bush Administration, and to the Paul Martin government, for coming out and saying strongly that the results of the presidential election in the Ukraine were fraudulent, and that democracy is being thwarted.

And a tip of the hat to the Supreme Court of the Ukraine for standing up for a fair process.

In a written statement, the Supreme Court justices forbade the Central Election Commission, which declared Yanukovytch the winner on Wednesday, from certifying the result until the case is heard. The opposition is alleging systematic fraud on a scale so large as to have robbed their candidate of victory.

The case will be heard next Monday.

As the Ukraine tips towards civil war, and hundreds of thousands of civilians face down the possibility of facing down tanks, this is not the time nor the place to be thinking about ironies.


You’re Welcome

And in the midst of the protest - a Canadian flag - held aloft by Ella Mookvitch, a Kiev marketing specialist, in appreciation of Canada’s condemnation of the flawed election.

“It’s good that the government and Parliament of Canada supported us,” she said. “It very difficult by ourselves. Moral support of people living across the ocean is very important for us.”


Getting it Wrong and Right in the Same Breath

I may have said it before, but I have a fondness for the back cover blurbs of pulpish thrillers possibly linked to my love of bad disaster movies. However, with pulp thrillers, you can construct an interesting text on the psyche of a culture within an era — one which, unlike television, can fit in the palm of your hand, and be registered in seconds.

Flipping through the battered paperbacks stalls in my local library, I come upon a book titled Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison. Originally written in 1966, reissued in 1979 and re-re-released in 1994, the story is set in New York City in December 1999. The city’s population is 35 million, and its inhabitants are all engaged in reliving Soylent Green, if you know what I mean.

The amount that this book says by its very presence, about the sixties and the seventies, not to mention the nineties, could fill, well, a book. Overpopulation was the disaster du jour for the early 1970s, and this book is no exception. It would take an explosion of growth in agriculture (with an exceptional increase in the use of petroleum based fertilizers and the utilization of monocultures, likely causing a different, but very similar, calamity in a few years time, assuming that technology doesn’t pull another miracle out of its hat) before we dropped this fear for something more complicated. And effects-worthy.

Then there is the sixties’ picture of the nineties. The book gets full marks for picturing grit instead of flying cars, but there is no mention (of course) of the Y2K bug. There is, intriguingly, a millenial angst, and a suspicion held by many in 1999 that January 1, 2000 means the end of the world. So likely this author either knows his trends, or got lucky. Or both.

But what was especially interesting, that while Millennial-doomsday New York City stifles under the weight of 35 million souls, the man goes and lists the population of the United States as a whole.

344 million.

Population of the real United States on January 1, 2000? 281,421,906

For that matter, the population of Metropolitan New York today? Around 21 million.

The U.S. numbers are only 63 million people off, which doesn’t sound like that much. And urban sprawl aside, there doesn’t seem to be much strain on the country. The sense now is, American cities could handle the extra population, if they only built for it properly. And the numbers also show that while America has grown, a lot of that growth has been away from New York City.

Make of it all what you will. I only read the blurbs.


On This Day

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